Survey: 30% of Food Company Executives Expect New Pandemic Within Four Years

May 20, 2021
Half of food company executives say they feel unprepared for the next pandemic – which 30% say will happen within the next four years.

Half of food company executives say they feel unprepared for the next pandemic – which 30% say will happen within the next four years, according to a survey from AIB International.

The poll of 325 North American food industry executives showed that 61% of respondents say they were not adequately prepared for COVID-19, even though 63% said they had a pandemic plan in place. Of those, one-third said their plans proved inadequate.

As for effects of the pandemic, 62% of companies experienced increases in operating costs, which averaged 11%. One in three companies experienced a decrease in revenue, averaging 27%.

The biggest reason for the increased operating costs was having to spend on personal protective equipment and changes to the work environment, cited by about three-quarters of respondents. Other major expenses were sanitation, employee training and supply chain sourcing.

Employee absenteeism was the top problem of the pandemic, cited by half of respondents. A little less than half cited canceled or reduced orders.

Perhaps most surprising is that 30% of executives said they expect another pandemic in the next four years, and 50%, in the next 10.

“For companies that had preparedness plans in place before COVID-19 struck, almost all said they had revised their plans due to this pandemic,” the report says.

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